Oklahoma State lost its most enigmatic wide receiver earlier this afternoon with Tyron Johnson declaring for the NFL draft. Lets take a look at what that leaves new quarterbacks Dru Brown or (and??) Spencer Sanders to work with.
The chief group responsible for replacing Swaggy T’s production from a year ago will be the wide receiver group. Johnson hauled in 53 balls for 845 yards and seven scores last season. Those marks were good enough for second on the team in all categories, only trailing Bilitnikoff finalist Tylan Wallace.
The top spot will still belong to Tylan Wallace here. He was “the guy” last year as a sophomore and it will be no different in his junior campaign. Wallace caught 86 balls for nearly 1,500 yards last year and OSU will hope that the Fort Worth native can replicate those numbers in 2019.
The most natural option to fill Johnson’s production from last season is junior Dillon Stoner, although that could depend on who the next quarterback is. Mason Rudolph utilized Stoner and former wide receiver Jalen McClesky far more in his last two years than Taylor Cornelius did in 2018. Stoner caught 48 passes last year, just five less than Johnson. However, Stoner only amassed 602 yards, over 200 less than Johnson. My guess is that Stoner sees an uptick in catches next season, but doesn’t quite meet the 845 yards mark that Johnson had last season.
With Wallace and Stoner as two established options in the offense, the next-in-line behind those two gets a little murky. The next receivers in line in terms of passes caught from last season include one returning receiver (Landon Wolf, 33), a running back (Chuba Hubbard, 22), a receiver who is transferring (McClesky, 15) and a Cowboy back (Jelani Woods, 7).
Wolf will return and likely provide a solid season, but I wouldn’t necessarily pencil him in as the number three guy just yet. Other options include former four-star receiver CJ Moore, Tylan’s brother Tracin Wallace, who will be returning from a season ending injury, and incoming four-star receiver Langston Anderson. Other possible contributors include LC Greenwood, Patrick McKaufman, Jonathon Shepard and Braydon Johnson.
Predicting who will wind up contributing is a little bit of a shot in the dark. I would expect Wallace and Stoner to come first in the pecking order. After that its anyones guess but I would think that Moore and Anderson would get the first crack at it because they have the highest upside as former four-star recruits. However, we really know nothing about either of those guys at the college level, so if they aren’t (understandably) ready to produce, I think that Landon Wolf could take that third spot and I think that Tracin Wallace, LC Greenwood and Patrick McKaufman will all get their opportunities.
While the guys in the receiver room will mostly be responsible for replacing Johnson, I’ll hit on all three skill position groups outside of quarterback since they all catch passes. This will also paint a better picture of what OSU is dealing with depth wise.
This group has the potential to be as good as its been since 2016 when it employed Blake Jarwin and Zac Veatch. The Pokes brought in three four-star recruits for the class of 2019, the aforementioned Langston Anderson, the to-be-mentioned Deondrick Glass and future Cowboy Back Grayson Boomer. The excitement around Boomer is real and he’ll likely see a good amount of playing time next to former quarterback Jelani Woods, who finished the second half of the season strong.
The best way to describe Woods is thick, jacked frame. That term might have been used by draftexpress.com to describe former SMU forward Semi Ojeleye, but it holds true for Woods. He is a mans man that I have trouble believing used to be a quarterback because he’s built like he stuffs nerds in lockers for a living. His size makes him an ideal blocker but he also has decent hands. His seven catches went for 120 yards and two scores, making him a great red zone option for Mike Gundy.
Grayson Boomer might wind up catching more passes between the two. Woods is the ideal red zone target, while Boomer is a littler slimmer and moves a little better, potentially making him a better option to catch passes. Because Collinsville HS puts out absolutely no tape, it is hard to get an exact grasp on the kind of player he is.
Obviously the Cowboy Backs won’t be expected to shoulder much of the offensive load, but I think both of these guys could help in replacing a small portion of the departing production.
The running backs are especially relevant in this, giving that Oklahoma State’s fifth leading receiver from a year ago was Chuba Hubbard. The speedy Canadian hauled in 22 catches for 229 yards and two touchdowns. Now that Hubbard will be the lead back as Justice Hill (13 catches last year for 68 yards) departs for the NFL, he will likely see his pass catching role diminish as his body takes on more hits.
The other running backs on the roster are intriguing. J.D. King decided to transfer to Georgia State, leaving Hubbard and LD Brown as the only experienced backs left. Brown only caught one pass last year but also only finished with 27 carries, fifth most on the team. He didn’t get near the same amount of opportunities as the other backs but we still don’t know much about him as a pass catcher.
The way I see it, there will be five guys who will have the potential to get carries (and subsequently catch passes out of the backfield) in 2019 for OSU. Dezmon Jackson is a junior college transfer whose role for next season is unclear. Of the four guys remaining, there are two speedy-er backs and two power backs.
Chuba Hubbard will get the lions share of carries and has shown to be a serious pass catching threat out of the backfield. The other speedy back is Oklahoma State’s newest (and highest rated) recruit for this cycle, Deondrick Glass. The Katy, TX running back put up over 6,000 yards in his high school career and scored his 100th touchdown in the waning seconds of a playoff loss to eventual state champions Galena Park North Shore last season. This is a guy who was a work horse for the Tigers for four years and is the next in line in a long lineage of Katy running backs to play major division one football (including Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson). I see Glass as a guy who will likely get a good amount of carries this season potentially as Hubbard’s lead backup and I think will be a solid pass catcher out of the backfield.
The other two guys likely to see playing time are LD Brown and redshirt freshman Jahmyl Jeter. Brown has seen playing time in early season blowouts in his first two years and showed promise. He’s more of a power back and carries less potential as a pass catcher than the two guys mentioned above. Brown will likely see more of the red zone carries and fills a nice Chris Carson-esque role for OSU. Jeter hasn’t seen college snaps yet but is the same kind of heavier back that Brown is. It will be interesting to see how much time Jeter and Dezmon Jackson get this year. I think Hubbard, Glass and Brown will all see significant time.
Losing TBJ doesn’t help for next year but fortunately Gundy has been good as restocking the offensive coffers over the years. Today’s announcement that Deondrick Glass will be joining the team next season certainly helps as well because he is good enough to see decent time right off the bat. There are also a good amount of receivers to make things interesting. OSU has two clear cut “guys,” a couple of intriguing high ceiling options, some guys like Wolf and Braydon Johnson who can produce and a handful of guys like Greenwood who we haven’t seen yet. The Pokes should take the loss of Johnson to the NFL draft in stride.